Commentary

Cross-Platform Measurement's Leap Forward

The cross-platform measurement market is awash with various solutions, but none able to successfully measure non-duplicated individual demographics across platforms --  except Project Blueprint. That ‘s why Project Blueprint’s recently announced phase 2 pilot test is so exciting.

I spoke with Jane Clarke, managing director of CIMM, in a series of videos about Project Blueprint.

Project Blueprint, which has developed over the past few years through collaborations with CIMM, and a major investment over the past year from ESPN, offers a unified and nationally scalable sample that incorporates comScore’s hybrid online and mobile measurement, Arbitron’s (now Nielsen Audio’s) portable people meters for TV, radio and out of home­­ and 5 million set top box data households from several new sources.

All these datasets enable the measurement of the unduplicated reach of TV, radio, desktop, smartphone and tablet, including time-shifting, DVR playback and viewing by children. And, because of its hybrid TV measurement methodology of blending individual person level TV viewing data from PPMs with STB data, Blueprint enables a form of person-level STB data analysis down to the telecast level for even long-tail networks.

“This is one of the best aspects of the measurement,” says Clarke. “The PPM is an individual measurement device for both radio and television. This enables us to link radio and television data individually to digital behaviors. That is significant because the big challenge in cross platform measurement is, how do you de-dupe across  platforms? You can’t de-dupe at a household level. You can’t de-dupe at a television set level. You have to de-dupe at an individual person level. This is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the research methodology.”

Interestingly, this also solves the STB data issue of STB on / TV set off. Clarke says, “The combination of the PPM television viewing data and the return-path data is brilliant because each compensates for the weaknesses of the other. It’s not only the demographics but also the ability to know if the set is on or off. Further, Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) and comScore created a calibration panel -- a five-media calibration panel -- so it is a single-source (at the individual level) calibration panel, which is one of the ways they can get the de-duplication across platforms measured accurately. ”

All these advancements are what the industry says it wants. According to Clarke, “CIMM has taken a POV among the members as to what we think the criteria should be for successful cross-platform measurement.   We are pursuing the Blueprint project because it comes close to meeting these criteria.”

The other cross-platform measurement service in the market is Nielsen, which is working to extend its linear TV currency measurement to include mobile viewing of C3 eligible commercial ratings as well as digital ratings from its Online Campaign Ratings. "Nielsen's role is to measure consumer behavior in a device and platform-agnostic way and to provide the ratings that are used to buy and sell more than $70 billion of advertising," says Megan Clarken, executive vice president of global product leadership for Nielsen. 

According to Nielsen, the combination of its TV currency with its Online Campaign Ratings will create cross-platform ratings on a gross audience basis. Smartphone and tablet viewing must match TV programming exactly before they can be included. Those cases where the viewing elements do not match are not included in the current version of their system.

Further, Nielsen’s system cannot calculate unduplicated reach and frequency at this time. According to a Nielsen press release, “In 2014 we will introduce DPR, which will provide R/F/GRP for TV program episodes viewed on computers, smartphones and tablets.  When available those metrics will allow for comparison with TV ratings but will not de-duplicate viewing.  Our goal is to deliver in 2015 a cross-platform program rating that includes unduplicated viewing across TV and digital.”

The CIMM member companies form the roster of current clients for Project Blueprint, including ESPN, Disney ABC Television Group, Fox Broadcasting Co., NBC Universal, CBS Corporation, A&E Networks, Turner Broadcasting System Inc., Univision Communications Inc., Viacom, Publicis Groupe, GroupM, and Omnicom Media Group. With the new capabilities of Project Blueprint, more will certainly follow.

Tags: metrics, tv
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